I worked as a tenant organizer in the Bronx, as an archiving clerk for the Actors Equity union, and as a house cleaner before moving from New York in 1992 to take a job as an office assistant at the Tenderloin Times in San Francisco’s central city. I soon became a reporter and in those 50 square blocks of people who were headed up, down and sideways, I came to love — and feel most useful — reporting on society’s margins. The Tenderloin was a place whose residents were overlooked and neglected even as they strove to survive and thrive; I have searched for such places everywhere I’ve worked since then.
Since 2001, I have been a reporter in Sonoma County at The Press Democrat. I have covered gangs, police, aging and city government. I was a lead reporter on a series about globalization that won the newspaper a George Polk award in 2005. Other recognitions include two Associated Press Fairbanks awards for public service, a Best of the West award, and multiple California Newspaper Publishers Association awards for my reporting on neighborhood poverty, business, public sector benefits and an Indian tribe.
In 2007 and 2008, I took a sabbatical and worked at National Public Radio station KRCB in Sonoma County, where I was editorial coordinator for Voice of Youth, a teaching project focused mainly on at-risk youth. We produced stories for a bi-weekly bilingual radio show, learned stuff about each other and had lots of fun.
In 2014, I was named a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. As a fellow, I am focused on how to improve media coverage of low income communities.